SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Thirteen Sailors from guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) participated in a community service project (COMSERV) at the Genesis School for Special Education in Singapore, April 20.
The Genesis School, founded in 1998, provides full-time educational resource services to students with special needs who are diagnosed with an IQ above what is considered normal.
"As far as COMSERVs go, there is little sense of what to expect before you get there," said Fire Controlman 1st Class Ryan Lytton, from Pendleton, Oregon. "After we got to the school, we understood the scope of how much these teachers and children valued our help."
With a low student-to-teacher ratio, the highly structured learning environment has a maximum of eight students per class and affords much more personal interaction on social and academic levels.
"Diving right in with the kids was the most effective way for us to make a difference," said Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Martin, from Old Towne, Maine. "We got to help the children realize their potential, and they, in turn, taught us how to be kids again."
The 13 Sailors split off into classrooms that teach nine different levels of coursework for students as young as 3 years old all the way to young adulthood. For most of the ship volunteers, the COMSERV offered a short glimpse into the demanding routine faced by the school's university-certified special education teachers.
"It's obvious to everyone that the dedication and roles performed by the teachers are vital to everyone's success at the school," said Martin. "In the few short hours we spent with the students, everyone was able to take away a deep appreciation for the effort that goes into making an institution like this work. I was glad to be a part of it."
Lytton agreed, explaining that he had a daughter waiting for him at home and working with the children was a heartwarming experience for him.
"The chances of the kids remembering us are slim, but that doesn't mean that our time spent here will go unnoticed," said Lytton. "Even a small amount of effort helps bring light into a child's life. For me, that makes every effort worthwhile."
Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Mobile Bay is operating as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.
For more news on USS Mobile Bay or John C. Stennis Strike Group visit www.facebook.com/USS-Mobile-Bay-CG-53 or www.stennis.navy.mil